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Must-have tips for building dashboards with Xcelsius

by Kristin Bent

June 1, 2011

With BI 2011 just around the corner, I'm looking forward to sitting in a few sessions, chatting with attendees, and catching up wtih speakers on current reporting and business intelligence trends.

One trend in the market that's growing more and more apparent, is dashboarding. With the increasing need

Although known for their user-friendly look and feel, dashboards (like any SAP solution) require a certain amount of knowledge for efficient navigation and deployment.

In his two part session next week at BI 2011, Dr. Bjarne Berg offers proven strategies for designing both SAP and SAP BusinessObjects dashboards. Although traditional dashboarding tools, like BEx Web application desginer, are still viable options for creating dashboards and cockpits, the dashboarding tool with the biggest claim to fame is undoubtedly Xcelsius (now SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards).

In the second part of his two-part session, Berg offers step-by-step guidance for designing Xcelsius dashboards for optimal usability and data analysis. Check out a few of his step-by-step insights below:

Step 1 — Adding a Background

-Spend some time adding a backdrop that is visually pleasing

-You can also import images and use the transparency and border scale

Step 2 — Using Filters

-Filters are used to control the selections almost as “hierarchies”

-For example, when a Sales Office is selected, only the Customer Groups that belong to that Sales Office are displayed in the subsequent filter to simplify the navigation
Step 3 — Linking a Filter with Data
1.  Click on the filter on the canvas
2.  Click on “Source Data”
3.  Highlight all the data in the query result data set (not headings)
4.  Click on “Destination”
5.  Highlight the summary row
Step 4 — Give the Filter Dynamic Titles
-By using the query result for titles on the filters, the titles will be updated dynamically if the query result set changes
-DO NOT hard c ode titles on the dashboard unless absolutely needed
Step 5 — Adding a Graph and Giving It a Title
-Speedometers, graphs, and images add to your cockpit or dashboard
-Make sure you link the title to your query output (column headers)
-Drag an object onto the background and give it a title
Step 6 — Linking a Graph with Data
-All graphs must be linked with a set of data - how many data points that can be used depends on the graphing object
-Speedometers can have more than one indicator (arrow) and each can be associated with different data points
While steps 1-6 mentioned above are aimed to help you get started with the basics of Xcelsius, Berg will continue to walk through a total or 15 steps on-site next week (while demonstrating most of them in real-time). To check it out for yourself, you can attend his BI 2011 session, "Part 2: Lessons to design and deploy dynamic dashboards and cockpits: Emphasis on SAP BusinessObjects solutions."

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